Jul. 15th, 2009

mellicious: pink manicure (dragon)
Another nugget of medical history from my anatomy textbook:

Plato believed that the womb (uterus), if unused for a long period, became "indignant." This indignant womb then wandered around the body, inhibiting the body's spirit and causing disease. According to the male thinkers of the day, a woman was so controlled by her wandering womb that she was considered irrational and prone to emotional outbursts and fits of hysteria. This belief was the reason that the womb was named the hystera. The term has persisted in medical terminology...

I knew about the relationship between "hysterectomy" and "hysterics" - if I hadn't, it was pointed out in my Medical Terminology book as well - but what I hadn't heard before was the part about the indignant wandering womb. (However, the Greeks also believed that the arteries carried air, so it's not that their medical knowledge was otherwise all that sophisticated, in any case.)

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